Two vulnerable GOP senators got a boost to their reelection bids Thursday when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOn The Money: GOP senators heed Fed chair’s call for more relief | Rollout of new anti-redlining laws spark confusion in banking industry | Nearly half of American households have lost employment income during pandemic McConnell: Beefed up unemployment benefits will not be in next coronavirus bill GOP senators: More relief needed now MORE (R-Ky.) promised to bring a major outdoor recreation bill to the floor next month.
McConnell handed a win to Republican Sens. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerOn The Money: GOP senators heed Fed chair’s call for more relief | Rollout of new anti-redlining laws spark confusion in banking industry | Nearly half of American households have lost employment income during pandemic McConnell: Beefed up unemployment benefits will not be in next coronavirus bill GOP senators: More relief needed now MORE (Colo.) and Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesTrump cites ‘Obamagate’ in urging GOP to get ‘tough’ on Democrats Top GOP super PAC plans Montana ad blitz Bipartisan bill aims to help smallest businesses weather the coronavirus crisis MORE (Mont.) when he said the chamber would take up their Great American Outdoors Act next month.
The legislation would permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which provides money to protect and conserve habitats of endangered species, develop parks and outdoor recreation sites and protect sensitive forests. It’s a boon to hunters and fishers as it protects certain areas from development.
McConnell made the announcement after working out a deal with Gardner on Thursday afternoon to allow the Senate to recess for the week of Memorial Day — something Gardner threatened to object to because the Senate has failed to draft a new round of coronavirus relief legislation after reconvening in Washington on May 4.
The recreation bill is also a win for Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanFight emerges over unemployment benefits in next relief bill Senate Republicans demand answers from Trump on IG firing Bipartisan lawmakers call on Pompeo to defend Israel against ICC probes MORE (R-Ohio), whose legislation to address the nearly $12 billion deferred maintenance backlog at the National Park Service will be included in the Great American Outdoors Act, according to a Senate aide.
Portman has praised the bill as “landmark legislation that carries on Teddy Roosevelt’s legacy of protecting our public lands for future generations.”
Sens. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerThe Hill’s Coronavirus Report: Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga says supporting small business single most important thing we should do now; Teva’s Brendan O’Grady says U.S. should stockpile strategic reserve in drugs like Strategic Oil Reserve Warner asks DNI for underlying intelligence behind Flynn unmasking Senators press Mnuchin, Powell over scope of coronavirus bailouts MORE (D-Va.), Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderFive unanswered questions on COVID-19 and the 2020 election The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by The American Investment Council – House to vote today on largest relief bill in US history OVERNIGHT ENERGY: EPA won’t regulate rocket fuel chemical tied to developmental damage: NYT | Emissions drop during pandemic creates unexpected challenge | House coronavirus stimulus bill to include effort to limit political influence over science MORE (R-Tenn.) and Angus KingAngus KingSenate panel schedules vote for Trump intel pick Ratcliffe for next week Hillicon Valley: Experts raise security concerns about online voting | Musk finds supporter in Trump | Officials warn that Chinese hackers targeting COVID-19 research groups Lawmakers move to boost federal cybersecurity in annual defense bill MORE (I-Maine) are co-sponsors of the bill to address the parks maintenance backlog.
Gardner on Thursday also pointed to progress on legislation to extend the lending window of the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a core component of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act that passed in late March.
“We’re very close to a number of things that are needed,” he said when asked about his decision not to stand in the way of the Senate going on a weeklong recess despite little progress toward new coronavirus legislation.
“So we’re close. PPP and some other things that will help Colorado. We’ve always got more work to do. I feel good about what we can hopefully accomplish here,” he added.
Gardner’s Democratic opponent, former Colorado Gov. John HickenlooperJohn HickenlooperHickenlooper endorses Biden for president GOP senators worry Trump, COVID-19 could cost them their majority Democrats gain new momentum in fight for Senate majority MORE, however, hit him for not getting more from the GOP leader.
“Cory Gardner made a big stink about keeping the Senate in Washington, but less than a day later, he’s given up and seems happy to do whatever Mitch McConnell says,” Hickenlooper said. “Coloradans need help now.”